#72 of 95 30A Restaurants

Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar

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Gulf Breezes and Coastal Comfort Food at Shunk Gulley in Santa Rosa Beach
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Breezy, spacious multi-level seafood dining in Santa Rosa Beach boasts gulf views and fresh catches from its own artificial reef. Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar is great for groups and families and offers good value during happy hour. A popular tourist destination, diners can enjoy beachfront views and plenty of outdoor seating just off South Walton’s famed white sand beach.

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

While it may be named for folklore that told of a secretive reef where fishing boats once launched into the Gulf, Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar’s reputation in Santa Rosa Beach is no fisherman’s tale. Centrally located at the intersection of highways 393 and 30A, Shunk Gulley is well-loved by locals and visitors alike for beachfront views matched by an inventive menu of freshest coastal cuisine. Unmistakable Southern hospitality greets each diner; service at Shunk Gulley is consistently attentive and warm. 

Originally opened in November 2017, Shunk Gulley quickly rose through the ranks to become a top-rated area restaurant and local landmark. It offers two levels of seating and panoramic, open-air Gulf views in the bar area upstairs, with plenty of indoor and outdoor options for dining. 

In addition to their namesake oysters (served up either grilled or “Naked,” raw), Shunk Gulley’s menu includes a range of appetizers, soups, salads, and baskets piled with generous portions of Fried Gulf Shrimp, Gulf Coast fish, or Fried Sweet Tea Chicken Tenders (served with fries or coleslaw). Priding itself on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, Shunk Gulley also serves a seasonal featured entree.  A kids menu covers basic fare, including corn dogs and chicken tenders for little ones who may not go for seafood, and adults will also find a few “land-lubber” items, including the house Shunk Burger.  A thoughtful cocktail list balances candy-colored beach refreshers with elegant classics and is sure to whet a whistle of whatever tune.   

While the prices at Shunk Gulley are about what you’d expect for such a prime location, a daily happy hour special offers late afternoon guests great deals on a limited selection of food and drinks. During normal lunch and dinner hours, plan to enjoy a leisurely meal and definitely sit outside to get the most bang for your buck; stunning views of the Gulf Coast elevate any meal at Shunk Gulley to a memorable experience.

For guests planning to dine on rainy days, the inside seating area is quite spacious and good for groups. Tasteful, exposed white brick, picture windows, and rattan bistro chairs provide a nautical vibe while keeping the focus to what you came for: ocean views and delicious seafood.

On a recent visit to Shunk Gulley, we decided to wait a few extra minutes to sit up on the upper level, and enjoyed the following dishes:

Naked Oysters
Does anything say beachfront dining quite like a platter of freshly iced raw oysters? Served up right with fresh lemon and horseradish.

Duck Fat Gulley Fries
A top seller at Shunk Gulley, and at first bite we could see why. Hand cut and tossed in olive and truffle oil, these were perfectly crisp on the outside and tender inside, made even more mouth-watering by a flurry of Parmesan on top.

Yellow Fin Tuna Dip
We were told this is a must-try, and thank goodness we did. Served with flatbread and local hot peppers, it was delicious!

Fried Gulf Shrimp Basket
A hearty portion of expertly battered and fried shrimp, this was the highlight of our meal. 

Shunk Gulley serves great seafood but has also taken care that each item on their small menu is made with exceptional flavor and care. There’s no wrong way to eat at Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar, but here’s what we recommend: order a drink (or two), pull up a chair facing the sunshine, and enjoy some fresh seafood in a fun and friendly beach setting. Cheers!

Insider Tip:
While Shunk Gulley is a first come first serve restaurant and does not accept reservations, if you’re dining at peak hours, plan to whet your appetite at their outdoor bar, where guests are welcome to order drinks while awaiting a table.